Here are two reasons why you should support Singing The News.
- Journalism must find something else to do.
Imagine you’re an architect witnessing the birth of a new technology which allows untrained individuals to design their own houses and offices, providing they follow a pre-existing template. In such circumstances, architecture, which had been both functional and aesthetic, would be bereft of much of its everyday, functional aspect. Which leaves the aesthetic. That is, if there is less demand for architects to perform the merely functional, so they would need to pay more attention to the aesthetic in order to maintain their usefulness to society. Ditto journalism. As more information now comes directly to one individual from another – neither of them journalists, journalism can no longer rely on its merely functional aspect. Like architecture, journalism has lived until now on the cusp of the functional and the aesthetic. Moreover, as in the hypothetical case of architecture, journalism’s real predicament means it must now look more towards its other aspect – the aesthetic – in order to continue to play a social role.
- The aesthetic is a public place – perhaps the only place left for the reconstitution of the public.
Historically, besides containing information and referring to the aesthetic, journalism has also covered two other spheres: politics and ethics; and, in turn, these spheres have been constituent elements in the formation of journalism. But now there is no politics to speak of; only the shadow play of the Westminster village. And ethics, having been asked to take the social weight which politics used to carry, has itself become a casualty of the death of politics. That is, the inter-personalisation of the political, which is itself antithetical to politics, has been carried over into the adjoining sphere of ethics, where it has had a similarly corrosive effect. A parallel process of inter-personalisation has also been at work upon the aesthetic; yet in this sphere especially, there seems to be wider recognition that the kind of culture which ensues, is grossly inadequate. Perhaps ‘recognition’ is putting it too strongly, since it is hardly articulated in these terms. Nonetheless there is a widespread sense that what is, is not enough. This is expressed in a variety of ways, ranging from the restless quest for the next Bling thing, to the young woman taking the veil in search of something bigger than the strictly personal. But this is where the aesthetic – tending towards the sublime but also rooted in the secular – should be able to intervene on a daily basis. It has the capacity – indeed, it only realises itself in the actualisation of this capacity – to represent the trajectory between what is particular and what we have in common. Thus the spine of the aesthetic is also the backbone of the public. Moreover, in its particular rendition of the commons, the aesthetic can hold up a new prospect of the public; but it has to be seen to do this in regard to what’s happening to human beings every day. And this is the point where the aesthetic turn in journalism – for the sake of journalism, also turns into a public role, i.e. the role in the re-constitution of the public, which only journalism can play; but even journalism will only be in a position to play this role if it looks more towards its own aesthetic aspect.